I have finished THIS book, Becoming Elisabeth Elliott. Elisabeth was the wife of famed Jim Elliot that was martyred with four other men by the Woudani Indians in 1956. I have blogged about that event HERE.
One of the memorable segments of the book for me is this parable:
Walking along a rocky road, Jesus asked each of His friends to carry a stone for Him. John chose a big one; Peter selected a small one. They all climbed a steep mountain path. As they rested at the top, famished, Jesus commanded that the stones become bread. When Peter was still hungry after his small portion, John shared some of his.
[Note: Peter observed what he thought to be true. If you carry a stone for Jesus it will turn into bread. The bigger the stone carried, the bigger the reward. The story continues.]
A while later, the group set out on the path again, and Jesus asked each man to carry a stone for Him. This time Peter chose the largest. After a long walk, Jesus took them to a river, and instructed them to cast their stones into the water.
They looked at him bewildered and sweaty.
“For whom,” asked Jesus, “did you carry the stone?”
We can carry burdens for Jesus with self-interest (motivated by the benefit) or surrender (whatever Jesus wants of us is fine). Nowhere in Scripture are we promised visible success, blessing, or reward from our acts of faith. Sometimes our acts of obedience and faith look like “failure”or “waste,” like after hauling a large rock and being asked to watch it disappear in the current of a river with all evidence of your effort washed away.
Who picks the stone?
I want to possess a heart that carries any stone Jesus picks for me. I don’t want to pick the stones for myself. I want Jesus to pick because only He knows how my life will best glorify His name. I must trust Him. I want a heart that is never seeking a particular benefit, except the benefit of knowing I carried the rock well for Him. Period.
Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
Pick up our cross daily
Surrender means our hearts can still trust Him even when we faithfully carry our cross a great distance and under great strain and never see a drop of benefit this side of heaven. This is what is means to live a life of authentic surrender.
Picture Explanation: Our brothers and sisters in Russia and the Ukraine are being asked to carry large stones to rivers as part of their life of faith today. Let’s pray for their eyes to stay firmly fixed on him.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.